Looking Backwards, Looking Ridiculous – The Philosophy of the @Roger_Scruton #patricianbuildingscommission

Roger Scruton is a scholar funded by Future Symphony institute – which exactly shares his aesthetic philosophy, and manages to make a love for classical music look imperialistic and ridiculous rather than beautiful.  Take their manifesto and replace classical music with classical architecture etc. and you have.

But nor should there be any despair about the promise of a future for classical architecture. All around us we see the signs that a rebirth is nigh. The glorious architectural heritage bequeathed to us sprang from a deep well of love and piety, reverence, and affection within the human heart. And despite the errors of any age – perhaps even because of them – people are still moved principally and most lastingly by love. We still long to be inspired by wonder, to feel the selfless fulfillment of devotion, and the security of belonging. Architecture has the power to move us in this way more than almost anything else we can name.

And its power is all the greater for the fact that our experience of classical architecture, especially today, is wholly unlike our other experiences. It stands outside of time, and looks lovingly from its vantage point across the wide panoply of history. It invites us to stand there with it, in intimate acquaintance with everyone we’ll never meet – those who are long gone but who, nevertheless, already know us because they know and sympathize with the condition of our humanity. Our architectural communion across the centuries is the fruit of forgiveness that first took root in our hearts as sympathy and a mutual and abiding love for what is true, good and beautiful. Before trying to “modernize” architecture , then, we should remember that the great Renaissance was itself born of a loving look backwards. And already we see people in all walks of life making the first Petrarchan glances over the shoulder of modernity.

For the new renaissance to take hold, Western architecture must do more than survive in the cloisters and towers of our ateliers and architecture schools. We envision a world of active and flourishing amateur, community, youth, and professional studios where the joyful practice of drawing by pencil and legacy of classical architecture find themselves again at the aesthetic center of community and family life. We envision a world in which classical architecture and its principles are unquestionably as important a part of any school curriculum as reading, writing, and arithmetic. And in this world we envision, as already in our own, the design forever renews itself by renewing our spirits, our imaginations, and our moral sensibilities. It shapes us even as we shape a tympanum or pilaster in an arch..

A renaissance for classical architecture means a renaissance for humanity.

I imagine there were the kind of people that rioted when the rite of spring was first played and called the Eiffel Tower a scar on the skyline from not being constructed of stone.

FT – Letwin Report was ‘got at’ in removing proposed change to Land Compensation Act


UK prime minister Theresa May’s housing adviser has been accused of not going far enough to reform the price at which councils buy agricultural land in order to make housebuilding more affordable. Oliver Letwin, a former cabinet minister, issued a government-commissioned report alongside last week’s Budget that examined the issue of so-called “buildout rates” in the housebuilding industry. It recommended tougher requirements for developers on large sites so they have to build a wider mixture of housing types for sale and rent. But many figures in the housing industry had expected Sir Oliver to recommend a shake-up of the 1961 Land Compensation Act — a move that could have made it much cheaper for local authorities to build homes. The obscure legislation has a huge impact on the property market because it means that councils cannot buy agricultural land for development at its current value. Instead they must buy it at speculative “hope” values calculated as if there was already planning permission to build on the site. That can make the land more than 100 times more expensive than its original value. Hugh Ellis, interim chief executive at the Town and Country Planning Association, said the review failed to tackle the “craziness” of the current system. Recommended Property sector Unloved shopping centres make way for homes in landlords’ plans “If local authorities are going to take a leading role in the development of land, they need to get it at the right price, and the compensation code [currently] allows for the craziness of giving landowners hope value — value that they don’t own, didn’t create and doesn’t actually exist,” Mr Ellis said. “We are disappointed that he failed to deal with one of the key barriers to allowing them to take that role.” One industry figure said he had previously heard that the recommendation would be in the report: “I wonder who got to them?” he asked. Sir Oliver insisted he had tackled the issue, telling the FT his guidance to local authorities would mean councils could compulsorily purchase large plots of land at no more than 10 times its agricultural value. The report says: “I recommend that the housing secretary . . . should guide local planning authorities towards insisting on levels of diversity that will tend to cap residual land values for these large sites at around 10 times their existing use value.” That could result in values of about £100,000 per acre of farmland, against around £1.9m per acre for the market value of a typical site in south-east England. Some Tory MPs and landowners are understood to have expressed concerns about the idea. The British Property Federation said Sir Oliver had come to the right conclusion: “The idea that the public sector should be able to buy land at close to existing use value, could choke off land supply,” the industry group said. But other housing groups described the Letwin proposal as “insufficient”, because it still allowed landowners to make huge profits on the sale of their fields. Greg Beales, campaign director at the charity Shelter, said: “Sir Oliver Letwin has put his finger precisely on the problem: that the high cost of land is stopping us from building enough homes. “But we should be clear that the recommendations in this report simply will not work because the incentives for landowners to sell up at lower values are nowhere near strong enough.” A spokesman for James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, said the report was authored by “Sir Oliver alone” and he was not pressured to include or leave out any recommendations.

‘Howls of Rage’ from Architects on @Roger_Scruton #patricianbuildingscommission @kitmalthouse

Building Design

And planners too – not listed in brief or invited. Calculated snub by the extremist Roger Scruton as he tries to force his narrow patrician tastes on everybody else.  This wont end well, indeed I suspect RIBA and RTPI might even set up an alternative shadow commission.   Building everything in stone is too expensive, and brick impractical given the volume of new homes we need.  Given that how does going back to the methods , techniques and aesthetics of the 18th Century help.  A ridiculous and divisive move.  A bit like making Aaron Banks chair of the Electoral Commission, or putting him in charge of writing the question on a second peoples referendum.  I don’t think ministers have any idea of the anger this has caused amongst design professionals or how much it has set back the goodwill that has built up over recent months.

Architects sidelined as Scruton chairs government’s beautiful homes commission

Roger Scruton

‘Placing beauty at heart of housing policy is biggest idea in a generation’

Traditionalist Roger Scruton has been chosen by the housing secretary to chair a new commission tasked with putting “beauty” at the centre of housing policy.

Scruton’s appointment and the commission itself have been met with howls of derision from the profession. One called it a “right-wing Cabe”, while TV presenter Tom Dyckhoff asked if it was April 1.

The RIBA today demanded architects be given a leading role on the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission which was announced at the weekend by housing secretary James Brokenshire to “to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places”.